independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Derek's dream home is now Barclays' nightmare

Derek Quinlan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

THEY say God has ways of telling you that you have too much money. But just what is he trying to tell you by standing idly by as you splash out €100m on a house on the French Riviera, which comes complete with its own discotheque and flower preparation room in the basement?

That's what former Revenue Inspector-turned-financier Derek Quinlan got as part of the package when he bought the Villa La Carriere, his stunning waterfront villa in the über-exclusive town of St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat at the height of the boom.

Perhaps it made sense then to Mr Quinlan, and to his bankers at Barclays Bank, who according to documents lodged with the Land Registry in France loaned him a total of €64m for his dream home on the Cote D'Azur.

Now that things have taken such a dramatic turn for the worse and the Villa La Carriere is up for sale, perhaps that's the one positive to be taken from the story: the fact that the so-called "collective madness" that gripped the Irish banks stopped just short of bankrolling Derek's apparent penchant for subterranean disco dancing.

Thanks to their readiness to splash the cash, Nama already has a job of work to do in offloading nine properties it seized from Mr Quinlan and his family last Thursday, having finally lost patience with him over his plans to repay the €600m he owes personally. A massive €300m of this debt is understood to have been owed to Anglo Irish Bank alone before being taken over by Nama.

Included in Nama's imminent fire sale of Quinlan family residences is a €1m apartment at the Merrion Hotel that the Swiss-based financier purchased with his wife Siobhan with the assistance of a mortgage from Anglo Irish Bank in 2005.

Also up for sale in Dublin as a result of last Thursday's move by Nama to appoint a receiver are No 8 Raglan Road -- a sprawling period residence which formerly served as the headquarters of Mr Quinlan's firm prior to his emigration to Switzerland in 2009 for "tax and personal reasons", a house on Ailesbury Road and a building on Fitzwilliam Square.

How quickly these boomtime trophies will be sold remains to be seen given the dire state of the Irish property market, particularly at its upper reaches.

Back on the French Riviera, meanwhile, Barclays Bank are quietly agitating for the sale of Mr Quinlan's waterfront villa. Indeed, such is the British banking behemoth's appetite to move the property on, local real estate sources are saying that any offer approaching €73m will be accepted, with some suggesting it could yet be offloaded for as little as €39m.

Apart from its stunning location and neighbours who include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, the Villa La Carriere boasts a host of features that could attract a HNWI (High Net Worth Individual) with proverbial money to burn.

Take the baby grand Steinway piano in the white-tiled grand entrance hall, the chess table in the basement level entrance hall, the "totally exceptional wine cellar", the cinema, or indeed the salt-treated heated infinity pool that overlooks what realtors describe as the most expensive sea view in the world.

On a more practical level, Mr Quinlan's 10,000 sq ft house consists of eight bedrooms capable of accommodating 16 people, nine bathrooms and an elevator servicing all four floors.

The villa's fully equipped kitchen even comes complete with its own walk-in fridge. Just the place for an overheated property magnate to go and cool off.

Sunday Independent

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